Green Renovation of Historic D.C. Headquarters Building Earns LEED®  Gold Certification for African-American Women’s Organization Owners
April 4, 2012

Contact: Eris Sims, Executive Director
202 842-8686


Green Renovation of Historic D.C. Headquarters
Building Earns LEED®

Gold Certification for African-American Women’s Organization Owners


The Links Foundation, Incorporated headquarters building, in an historic district of Washington D.C., has earned LEED® Gold certification, an internationally recognized mark of excellence for green building design, construction, operations and maintenance. LEED® Gold is a designation of the U.S. Green Building Council’s “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design” rating system. The Links Foundation, Incorporated is the first African American organization to commission a LEED® Gold certified headquarters building.

“We found ourselves at an historic moment, the owners of invaluable historic property. So, we wanted to bequeath to future generations one of the most precious gifts we can pass on. Being good stewards of the environment is consistent with the mission of The Links,” said Margot James Copeland, national president of The Links, Incorporated and The Links Foundation, Incorporated.

The Links commissioned architects, R. McGhee & Associates, to integrate two adjacent historic buildings into one cohesive headquarters building. The project called for retaining historic exterior and interior elements of buildings from two different eras, while modernizing systems to be environmentally green.


“Achieving a high level of sustainable design in historic buildings is a difficult task. It requires significant energy, commitment and coordination from the owner, the design team and the general contractor. We hope The Links Foundation, Incorporated headquarters will be an example for other organizations to follow and that The Links will experience the benefits of their commitment to green design for years to come,” said Ronnie McGhee, principal of R. McGhee &Associates.

Links leadership and staff worked closely with a team of designers, renovators and contractors, including Jacobs Engineering Group, Inc. construction managers as well as Sustainable Design Consulting, LEED consultants.

“Jacobs was honored to be part of the design and construction team for the headquarters facility of The Links Foundation, Incorporated. This successful project allowed us to work with a world-class organization and construct a high-quality facility while maintaining our commitment to sustainability,” said H. Thomas McDuffie, Jr., group vice president of Jacobs.

The project received 40 points to achieve LEED 2.0 Gold certification, exceeding the original LEED Silver goal. “With each new LEED-certified building, we get one step closer to USGBC’s vision of a sustainable built environment within a generation,” said Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO & founding chair of the U.S. Green Building Council. “As the newest member of the LEED family of green buildings, The Links Foundation, Incorporated is an important addition to the growing strength of the green building movement.”

About The Links, Incorporated and The Links Foundation, Incorporated

The Links, Incorporated celebrates 65 years as a women’s volunteer service organization committed to enriching, sustaining and ensuring the cultural and economic survival of African-Americans and other persons of African-American ancestry. A premier international service organization with more than 12,000 members in 274 chapters located in 41 states, the District of Columbia, and the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, its legacy of friends providing service that changes lives, established by the original circle of nine friends in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1946, is alive and well.

The members of The Links, Incorporated are influential decision makers and opinion leaders. The Links, Incorporated has attracted many distinguished women who are individual achievers and have made a difference in their communities and the world. They are business and civic leaders, role models, mentors, activists and volunteers who work towards a common vision by engaging like-minded organizations and individuals for partnership.

With over 2 million service hours recorded in the past three years, members regularly contribute more than 500,000 documented service hours in their respective communities annually. The Links Foundation, Incorporated, the philanthropic arm of The Links, Incorporated, has made more than $24 million dollars in charitable contributions since its founding. Working closely with its sponsors and supporters, The Links, Incorporated is focused on creating transformational programming and impacting lives in communities of color in Services to Youth, The Arts, National Trends and Services, International Trends and Services, and Health and Human Services to improve the quality of life for individuals, families and communities. For more information, visit and Facebook.

The Links, Incorporated | The Links Foundation, Incorporated
1200 Massachusetts Avenue, NW | Washington, DC 20005-4501
T: 202-842-8686|F: 202 842-2020


About U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC)

The U.S. Green Building Council is committed to a prosperous and sustainable future through cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings. With a community comprising 79 local affiliates, nearly 16,000 member organizations, and more than 167,000 LEED Professional Credential holders, USGBC is the driving force in an industry that is projected to contribute $554 billion to the U.S. GDP, from 2009-2013. USGBC leads an unlikely diverse constituency consisting of: builders, environmentalists, corporations, non-profit organizations, elected officials, concerned citizens, teachers and students. For more information, visit, on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.


About The Links, Incorporated Headquarters Building

The Links Foundation, Incorporated’s national headquarters building sits on Washington D.C.’s Massachusetts Avenue, in one of the city’s prominent designated historic districts. Originally built as a private home in the late 1930s, The Links purchased the building, near Thomas Circle, the White House and the National Mall, in the mid-1980s. It has been renovated and converted several times to accommodate different uses.

Acting upon the opportunity to purchase the adjacent building, The Links saw the potential to expand their headquarters building from 6,168 square feet to a 9,356 square feet building that would better support their large and growing national membership. The project required new organizational layout, reconfiguration of the internal structural systems of both buildings, and new AV, IT, mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems, all within very tight existing floor to floor levels.

The project also required both buildings to be brought up to current building codes, accessibility standards and meet District of Columbia Historic Preservation Office guidelines.

About U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC)

Architect: R. McGhee & Associates
Construction Manager: Jacobs Engineering Group, Inc.
Contractor: Monarc Construction, Inc.
LEED Consultant: Sustainable Design Consulting
MEP Engineer: Global Engineering Solutions, Inc.
Structural Engineer: SK&A Engineers
Civil Engineer: AAH Consultants, Inc.
The Links, Inc. LEED AP liaison: Nichole Neal Walker, Esq.

Elements To Achieve LEED Gold Status

Green design elements include optimizing flow of natural light with the DIRTT System glass panels for the interior offices walls, allowing light from exterior windows to filter well into the building; light fixtures equipped with LED and fluorescent lighting along with a high efficiency mechanical system to reduce electrical demand while still providing a comfortable and functional work space; FSC compliant products for new wood structural elements and paint with low VOC content; recycled products or those from renewable sources such as: steel beams with high recycled content, bamboo flooring. The building utilizes roofing material with high reflective qualities to reduce heat and green-planted areas to supplement thermal insulation while reducing storm water runoff, further reducing the heat island effect.

The exterior walls have bio based spray insulation to provide the highest R-value and reduced air leaks in the existing masonry walls.

Additional activities at The Links headquarters building that helped the Project Team achieve LEED Gold Certification include the following Sustainable Design Activities:

  • Use of FSC compliant woods
  • Installation of new historically accurate, energy efficient windows
  • Use of Low VOC products throughout the building (paint, adhesives, sealants, etc.)
  •  Installation of high efficiency mechanical systems. Use of “machine room-less” elevator that is more efficient than a conventional elevator
  • Installation of a green roof, using drought resistant plants. Green roof and insulation provide a total of an R-40 rating
  • High efficiency insulation at the exterior walls achieves a R-20 rating
  • Installation of bio based, low VOC spray insulation in building envelop
  • Use of LED and fluorescent lamps and occupancy sensors
  • Use of renewable flooring such as bamboo and cork
  • Use of linoleum and rubber renewable flooring products in place of VCT
  • Removal and reuse of existing wood structural elements and flooring
  • New products and materials used containing an average of 21.4 percent recycled materials, including reuse of more than 60 percent of existing building elements
  • More than 30 percent of materials used in the construction were extracted and manufactured within 500 miles from the building
  • Diversion of more than 90 percent of demolition and construction waste from landfill
  • Implementation of a Green Education program
  • Implementation of Green housekeeping program

Facts About The Links Companion Program of Educational Activities

Additional innovative activities include a Sustainable Design Education program created by The Links Foundation, Incorporated and a two year commitment to support Green Power initiatives by The Links, Incorporated. The program includes:

  • Sustainability Training & Education for building occupants
  • A video tour of all the green features incorporated in the building.
  • Display of comprehensive signage indicating the “before and after” elements of designated areas that have green features.
  •  “Links Living Green” program videos featuring chapters’ success stories and their efforts in promoting sustainable living on the local level.
  • Children’s Green Education interactive video tour and educational component to dispel myths and encourage the promotion of sustainable living in the African-American community.